It looks like there's a new book out about it: Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them
by Donovan Hohn. It's at Amazon.
From a New York Times book review
“Moby-Duck” succeeds as harebrained adventure, as a cautionary environmental tale, as a deconstruction of consumer demand, and as a meditation on wilderness and imagination. Hohn moves easily between the micro and the macro, weaving personal histories into science and industry as he roams. In the Harper’s manner, he luxuriates in extended descriptions (which sometimes spill into lengthy endnotes) of objects, oddballs and his reactions to everything he sees. Listening to an oceanographer expound, in his organic garden, on zero-waste policies and closed-loop manufacturing, Hohn writes, “My upbringing in Northern California had taught me to distrust utopian strangers who talked about ‘economic paradigms,’ no matter how tasty their bananas.” In a Chinese toy factory, he pulls a 16-year-old duck from his pocket and fits the toy into its original mold. “For a moment I half expect some sort of cosmic magic to occur — rays of yellow light to come shooting from the mold, a portal to open in the space-time continuum. Instead, I just stand there muttering, idiotically, ‘Wow. . . Wow.’ ”
At times, I reacted similarly to “Moby-Duck.” Hohn seems to have it all: deep intelligence, a strikingly original voice, humility and a hunger to suss out everything a yellow duck may literally or metaphorically touch. Naturally, he can’t, but the chase is, after all, the thing.